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Graduate Faculty Appointments


To describe the organization, privileges, and responsibilities of the Graduate Faculty. 

Applies to: 

Graduate Faculty

Policy Statement: 

University faculty and other persons qualified by training and experience may be nominated and appointed as members of the Graduate Faculty at KU. Only members of the Graduate Faculty may participate on graduate exam committees. Graduate degree programs are responsible for nominating faculty to hold Graduate Faculty appointments and for ensuring compliance with all policies.


To hold a Graduate Faculty appointment, an individual must show evidence of an initial productive contribution to scholarship and continuing professional activity, demonstrating the ability to contribute to high-quality graduate education. Members of the Graduate Faculty will be appointed in keeping with university policies and accreditation regulations.

Productive professional activity may take different forms across disciplines. Conventional evidence of such activity includes:

  • Effective teaching,
  • Scholarly publication,
  • Participation in professional societies, and
  • Other scholarly activity.

To qualify for chairing doctoral committees, a member of the graduate faculty must also demonstrate continuing activity commensurate with being an established scholar in the faculty member's field and involvement in the graduate education program as evidenced by:

  • Teaching graduate courses,
  • Advising and mentoring graduate students,
  • Serving on thesis and dissertation committees, and
  • Maintaining an ongoing program of scholarly activity, which includes a record of scholarship, publication, and other contributions to the field.

Tenured and tenure-track faculty in Lawrence-campus departments that grant graduate degrees may be appointed to the Graduate Faculty for the duration of their employment. Employees of the university and its affiliates who do not have tenured or tenure-track faculty appointments in departments that grant graduate degrees may be appointed to the Graduate Faculty for up to five years. Such appointments are renewable.

Nominations and Privileges

When individuals meet the eligibility criteria listed above, it is the graduate program's responsibility to nominate individuals for Graduate Faculty appointments and to provide appropriate evidence of scholarship and involvement in the graduate education program. Graduate Faculty are nominated to serve via one or more specific privileges which are individually recorded in university systems. The five privileges of Graduate Faculty are:

*"Doctoral committees" refers to both the oral comprehensive exam and the final dissertation defense.

Graduate-degree-granting departments will formally nominate all individuals who may serve on exam committees, including new members of the tenured and tenure-track faculty.

Chairing Committees

In order to chair committees independently, members of the Graduate Faculty must also be appointed to the regular tenured or tenure-track KU faculty in the student's home department. Any member of the Graduate Faculty who holds committee service privileges may serve as a co-chair on committees at or below the highest level for which they are appointed. However, members of the Graduate Faculty who have had chairing privileges removed may not co-chair committees at that level.

Graduate Studies Representative

In order to serve as the Graduate Studies Representative (GSR) on Lawrence-campus doctoral committees, the Graduate Faculty member must also be appointed to the regular tenured or tenure-track faculty on the Lawrence campus. Members of the KU Medical Center's Graduate Faculty enjoy equivalent privileges on the Lawrence campus for the purposees of committee service.

Emeritus/Emerita Status

When KU awards a faculty member Emeritus/Emerita faculty status, the Office of Graduate Studies will administratively extend the faculty member's Graduate Faculty appointment for three years post-retirement. A department may petition to extend Emeritus/Emerita appointments beyond the initial three-year period. When such appointments are extended, the Professor Emeritus/Emerita may continue to enjoy all Graduate Faculty privileges except independently chairing doctoral committees. To extend an Emeritus/Emerita appointment, the Professor Emeritus/Emerita must demonstrate recent research activity and scholarly engagement with both the home department at KU and the wider field. Extensions may be granted for up to three years at a time. Emeritus/Emerita Graduate Faculty appointments are intended to facilitate committee continuity for students already working with a retiring faculty member. Graduate programs are responsible for monitoring and maintaining appropriate privileges for their Emeritus/Emerita Graduate Faculty. Emeritus/Emerita Graduate Faculty may count as internal members, at the department's discretion.

Graduate Faculty as Students

In special cases where members of the Graduate Faculty enroll in a KU graduate program as part of their professional development, they may be permitted to retain their Graduate Faculty appointment. They may not supervise or serve as the instructor of record for students that are peers in the graduate program in which they are enrolled.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Graduate Studies will manage any exceptions to the policy outlined above. Requests for exceptions must be made in writing to the Vice Provost of Graduate Studies and must include endorsement by the school or College. They should detail the exception requested and the extraordinary circumstances that have resulted in the request.


Graduate Studies

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Effective on: 
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
graduate faculty, thesis, dissertation, committee chair, committee member, dissertation chair
Change History: 

06/25/2020: Changed Dean of Graduate Studies to Vice Provost of Graduate Studies.
05/21/2019: Major policy revision approved by the Provost 28 April 2019.  Accompanied by substantive software changes in GradFac database and PtD workflow system. - Amber Roberts Graham.
06/03/2016: Technical edits to bring policy in line with new Emeritus/Emerita Graduate Faculty policy approved by SVPAA on 2 June 2016. - Amber Roberts Graham.
06/01/2016: Removed outdated link from the Related Forms section. Added comments to Related Procedures outlining how to pursue Graduate Faculty appointments and status renewals. - Amber Roberts Graham.
11/30/2012: Updated policy approved by the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty and the Dean of Graduate Studies.
03/14/2008: Added to KU Policy Library by Absinthe Algaier.

Personnel: Faculty/Academic Staff Categories: 
Personnel: Staff Categories: 

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